The Path of Life

path of life

Image by AlicePopkorn via Flickr

TodayI came across the work of Alice Popkorn who is a digital artist and I love her work. This particular image is entitled The Path of Life and it is inspired by something the Buddha said, that “we ourselves must walk the path of life”.

The picture shows a young child, perhaps three or four years old, beginning his own great journey by taking those early steps. Within his sight, there is a milestone which is represented by the tree. For this young person, this could be starting school. It is just a little way off in the distance and after this, the path turns. He is unable to see where it leads next and what other milestones there are along the way.

At this time, the path is clearly marked and easy to tread. In the future there will be many twists and turns and forks in the path too. There will be lots of decisions to make and consequences to face. That’s the story of life and the art of making the right choices, when walking this path, is to be conscious of the fact that choices always have consequences.

The time spent at school will seem like an eternity to this child as he slowly makes his way, but in retrospect, within the true context of his life, it will be a fleeting moment. But even in this brief time, he will begin to make choices that will shape his future. Since the journey is through time, he can never go back if he subsequently decides he has made a wrong choice.

Of course, we all make wrong choices from time to time. We sometimes look back and wish we had made a different choice at some juncture but, the truth is that, given the options and perspectives available at the time we make our choices, we always make the decisions we think are the right ones. So, given the opportunity to start along the path again, without the benefit of hindsight, we would all make exactly the same choices.

There is a fork in that path coming along soon for the little boy in the picture and he will need to make a choice. It will be one of many he will have to make in his life. We never stop having to make such choices and they all have consequences attached to them.

“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take? she asked. Where do you want to go? was his response. I don’t know, Alice answered. Then, said the cat, it doesn’t matter.” – Lewis Carroll

The same is true for you. There is a fork in the path, not far ahead of where you are right now. So, will you be ready to answer the Cheshire Cat?

2 thoughts on “The Path of Life

  1. David

    I love the fork in the road analogy. For me, I take it one step further — *every* step, every action, every decision is a fork in the road. For example, I just read one of your other blog posts, and I made quite a lengthy reply because I loved the premise. I could have called it a day, shut my computer off, but that fork…. I decided to read another one of your blog posts, this one! (The Buddha reference caught my attention). My taking the time to read more of your blog posts has changed the whole course of my evening — in a good way, though, because of the fork. Here’s my point: in every decision, every action there is good or bad. Shall I eat junk food for lunch, or healthy food. Shall I honk at the slow driver in front of me, or just smile and use the time to think of something happy. There is a decision to make at every step in life, and I think one of life’s goals is to become a good decision maker, to always take the high road. So even if we don’t know where we’re going in life, we can always choose the loftier/better, um, “prong,” of the fork.

  2. Delton

    I think Alice is representative of most people. We start on life’s journey with someone telling us where to go and what to do. Even education doesn’t help much in which route to take. It seams we are taught what to think and believe but not taught how to think. It hard to decide which fork to take if we have always been told. A few break the mold and start thinking for themselves and those are the ones that really goes somewhere and enjoy life.

    BTW. I enjoy reading your Blog

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